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Karboora House

O’Neill Architecture gives a North Stradbroke Island retreat a down to earth feel by splitting the program across two low-rise pavilions. Set high on Karboora Drive, Karboora house is only a 6 minute walk to Cylinder and Deadmans beach. The property is nestled in a private bushland setting, yet boasts a stunning northerly aspect to take advantage of expansive Coral Sea views and summer sea breeze.

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© Scott Burrows

Karboora sits on a high knoll on Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island. As positions go, it’s real estate heaven. The house boasts breathtaking views to the north across the ocean and is fringed by protected banksia and paperbark forest on its south and east sides. Karboora takes its name from its street address, which in turn derives from the Aboriginal Jandai language name for Blue Lake, a freshwater lake to the south that has long been a sacred spot for the local Quandamooka people. While its namesake lake has a quiet, secluded location inland, approached by a sandy hiking track through Wallum country, this house sits prominently above the street.

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© Angus Martin

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© Scott Burrows

Vast casual, light and airy living spaces allows plenty of room for a large family. Polished concrete, floating timber and luxurious carpeted bedrooms – every space has been carefully considered to maximise its use and liveability. With the finest kitchen appliances, beautiful furnishings and quality bedding, Kinka@Karboora has every requirement for a casually elegant and well deserved beach break.

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© Scott Burrows

“I wanted to orient the place around a northern courtyard,” says Justin, “but it was also important to protect it from the south-east. Here you need the breezes from the south-east for about three quarters of the time, but the rest of the time you need to shut off that side.”

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© Scott Burrows

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© Angus Martin

O’Neill Architecture:

Karboora is a holiday house for a family of six, situated on a high point within Point Lookout with views north towards Moreton Island. The topography is knoll-like from the street, accentuated by the cut of the road. The site is bounded to the north by a neighbour, to the west by the street and to the south and east by bushland.

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© Scott Burrows

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© Angus Martin

Karboora is a continuation of the standard structural systems of the Island beach shacks. It is a timber balloon frame structure, clad with FC, and sculpted to create a monolithic form. The living plane is spread over five levels as it mitigates between living on the ground and the seeking of northerly views. The buildings, courtyard and driveway all run east-west, maximising northerly aspect into all of the habitable rooms.

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© Scott Burrows

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© Scott Burrows

Each material was carefully selected for suitability and minimum maintenance within this coastal environment. Detail was rigorously discussed to support the maximum lifespan of these materials insitu. The house is serviced by 10,000 litre water tanks under the north building servicing toilets, laundry and hose cocks. A solar evacuated tube roof panel serves the hot water system. Cooking is via bottled gas to the kitchen and BBQ.

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© Scott Burrows

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© Scott Burrows

Karboora’s bushland setting within a coastal beach zone required a BAL 29 bushfire rating to be applied to the building fabric. This requirement was achieved with extensive negotiations with all suppliers as they developed their own systems to achieve the new standards. Karboora has been nationally recognised by the Royal Australian institute of Architects as a contemporary development of the fibro beach shack.

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© Scott Burrows

Project Data:

Project name: Karboora House
Location: North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia
Coordinates: n/a

  • Type By Characteristic: Holiday House, Green & Sustainable House
  • Type By Site: Island House, Hill House
  • Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
  • Type By Structural: Wooden House

Structural: timber balloon frame
Site Area: 600 sqm
Project Area: 211 sqm
Project Year: 2009-2010
Construction Year: August, 2010 – May, 2011
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2011


  • 2012 -,Australian Institute of Architects Awards – Queensland Regional and State Architecture Awards -Category: Residential Architecture – Houses – State Commendation
  • 2012 – Australian Houses magazine Awards – Australian House of the Year – Category: New House over 200 sqm – Shortlisted

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: O’Neill Architecture – Level 2, 81 Edward Street, Brisbane, QLD, 4000 Australia
Project Architect: Justin O’Neill
Builder: Craig Frampton Builder
Building certifier: Certis
Engineer: Bligh Tanner
Landscaping: Cardno S.P.L.A.T.
Town planning: John Gaskell Planning Consultants
Text Description: © Courtesy of O’Neill Architecture, architectureau, worldarchitecturenews
Images: © O’Neill Architecture, Craig Frampton Builder, Angus MartinScott Burrows

Materials & Suplier:

Roofing: Lysaght Custom Orb in Colorbond ‘Woodland Grey’
External walls: James Hardie fibre cement sheeting with beech wood cover strips.
Internal walls: CSR Gyprock plasterboard
Windows and doors: Duce Joinery Kwila windows and doors with Sikkens Cetol HLS finish; Aneeta Windows sashless windows, powdercoated ‘Charcoal’
Flooring: Boral blackbutt solid strip flooring in Sikkens finish
Lighting: Light and Design Group lights
Kitchen: Corian benchtop in ‘Vanilla’; stainless steel benchtop; Sharp Plywood ironbark veneer to cabinetwork; whitegoods from Newtons Retravision
Bathroom: Classic Ceramics tiles; Elite Bathware and Tiles sanitaryware


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Karboora House / O'Neill Architecture
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